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MEN’S BASKETBALL: Creighton Fights Past Oklahoma in BIG EAST-Big 12 Battle

OMAHA–(CU Athletics)–Four Bluejays scored in double-figures as the Creighton men’s basketball team topped Oklahoma 83-73 Tuesday night in the BIG EAST – Big 12 Battle at the CHI Health Center Omaha.

With the win the Bluejays move to 9-2 on the season after its 13th straight home win, while Oklahoma fell to 7-3 overall.

Creighton sophomore Marcus Zegarowski led the way for the Bluejays with 20 points, while junior Ty-Shon Alexander added 19 points and 11 rebounds for his second career double-double. Junior Mitch Ballock contributed 17 points of his own, while junior Denzel Mahoney scored 14 in his first game as a Bluejay, checking in for the first time just 18 seconds into the game after an early foul on starting post player Christian Bishop.

The Bluejays finished the night 21-57 (36.8 percent) from the floor, including 12-35 (34.3 percent) from behind the arc and a season-high 29-36 (80.6 percent) from the free throw line. The Bluejays held a 46-41 advantage in rebounds, while also dishing out seven more assists (14-7) than the Sooners.

Oklahoma was paced by 23 points from Austin Reaves and 21 points and 15 rebounds from Kristian Doolittle, while junior Brady Manek added 17 points. The Sooners shot 23-69 (33.3 percent) from the floor, including 8-32 (25.0 percent) from three and 19-21 (90.5 percent) from the charity stripe.

After surrendering the first basket of the game Creighton used five three-pointers from four different players to take a 15-12 into the first media timeout. Mahoney was one of the four Bluejays to connect from behind the arc in that stretch, scoring his first points as a Bluejay.

Creighton surged out to its first double-digit lead at 24-14 on a 12-2 run as Ballock hit a three from long range before Mahoney and Zegarowski made seven straight free throws.

The Sooners cut the lead down to four at 25-21, before the Bluejays extended the advantage back nine at 37-28 with a layup and a three from Alexander and a three from Mahoney.

Oklahoma finished the half on a 10-4 run with Reaves and Alondes Williams each having four points during the spurt. Bishop hit a pair of free throws giving the Bluejays a 41-38 lead at the break.

Creighton came out of the locker room on fire, extending its lead to 56-43 on a 13-3 run to start the second half. Bishop got the run started with a fast break layup before Alexander dialed it up from long range and Jefferson added a layup. The run was capped off with three-pointers from Zegarowski and Ballock.

Oklahoma answered with a 13-2 run of their own over the next four minutes to cut the Bluejay lead down to two at 58-56 on a jumper from Williams. Creighton exploded for a 16-3 run, growing its margin to as much as 15 at 74-59 with 4:59 left in the game. The Bluejays made eight free throws from the charity stripe, while Ballock and Zegarowski each connected from behind the arc and freshman Shereef Mitchell add a floating jumper. CU’s lead never dipped below nine points in the final seven minutes.

The Bluejays return to the hardwood on Saturday, Dec. 21 as Creighton faces Arizona State in Tempe, Ariz. Tip is scheduled for 7:30 pm (CT) on the Pac-12 Network.

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